How I Get "Organized" (Part One)

Just last night I was looking for some notes, news clippings, leaflets anything having to do with retirement. As I do with my other papers, whenever I find anything of interest I skim it and file it away believing that someday I'll use it.

I knew I'd put the retirement papers somewhere but I just could not remember where. I checked my files. In the folder labeled with a dollar sign "$" there was everything of a financial nature except for retirement. There was no folder labeled "Retirement".

Then I remembered a large loose leaf binder I bought a few years ago at Staples: On the cover:

"Better Binder, Flexible Spine, Lasting performance, Ultra flexible design, Our most durable binder."

 I was so impressed I bought it with much enthusiasm. I knew I'd find something to put in it once I got home. Back at home after playing with the binder for 5 or 10 minutes I filed it on a shelf somewhere happy that if ever I should need one I'd have the best.

  I wondered if maybe I could have punched holes in the retirement papers and put them in that binder. But the only tab labeled in the 8 tabbed folder was "Medical Benefits". I was lost. I had no idea what happened to the retirement notes. A brief instant of anxiety flashed through my mind. What if I threw them away in order to make room and better organize my life?

I sat in my den looking out the window with a blank stare, lost in thought. In my mind I tried to retrace my steps. There had to be more. Then it hit me. Health benefits are very important. I bet I put the retirement papers in the loose leaf binder under the tab "Medical Benefits". I looked into the binder once more. There were no papers under the tab. The whole binder was empty!

In desperation I looked through my file cabinet once more. Towards the back about three-quarters of the way was a file with the label missing. I pulled the file. It was all there all shuffled together in a thick pile. Now in a few hours I would find all the information I needed. It might be too old to use but I would decide that later.

The room, was now cluttered with papers, folders & my empty Staples loose leaf binder on the floor.

How I Get Organized (Part Two)

In my last post I wrote about how difficult it was for me to find some important information about retirement that I filed somewhere but forgot where. In frustration I imagined giving a class called:

"How to Organize Your Life"

"Now class pay attention to the 5 cardinal rules to organize anything in your life:

First: Never put anything back in the same place where you found it.

Second: If something is empty (like folders, papers, empty tissue boxes...) put it back where you found it without making a note or telling anyone.

Third: Never put a label on anything you own.

Fourth: Every so often go back over your possessions and shuffle them around a bit.

Fifth: When possible use the four rules above to "organize" your wife's or friend's things.

How I Get Organized (Part Three)

The other day I sat at my desk overflowing with scraps of paper, bills, notes... My mood was at a deep low. How was I going to get my life together? It was all just too much to handle! If I could only find a book to guide me I'd be on my way. Then I remembered buying a book or two about getting organized but I had no idea where I'd put them. I was sure that if only I sat down and forced myself to study the books; written by supposed experts, my problems would be solved.

I decided to search my house to find the books if they were still there. If I'd not put them in the trash years ago. I spent about 2 hours locating the books. After finding the first two books I had a feeling there might be more so I continued my search. After another hour I found 3 more books. A total of 5 books!

Now 2 of the books looked familiar even though I had no idea what was in them. I was certain the other 3 books were not mine. I wondered if my wife bought them, sort of like a subtle hint to be organized. No, I'm sure she gave up on me after the first few years of our marriage.

The books were now spread out on the floor in no particular order. The task of going through them would take hours of tedious reading.

In a fit of anger I began kicking the books across the room. Then I sat at my desk and began punching down as hard as I could. The PC monitor bounced and started to slide towards the edge ready to fall. I stopped it just in time. In frustration I put my head down not knowing what to do.

That's when my wife came into the room

"What was all that pounding?"

I just kept my head down and shrugged my shoulders.

"Are you alright?"

When I did not respond she touched me on the shoulder.

"Wow, look at all these books. I'm so glad you finally decided to become organized. No wonder you look so tired. Why don't you stop for now. I mean you can't do it all in a day."

I sat up with a puzzled look.

"I know. Why don't we go to a movie? We can grab a quick meal at the diner," she said.

"Okay. I'll just put these books on a shelf and get ready."